Uncertain future is a key reality of human condition. We strive for a greater control, and during the past generation we have invested a great deal of intellectual effort into improving the capability of our quantitative techniques, and produced increasingly complex long-range forecasts. But retrospectives show little real success. As always, unpredictable discontinuities provided the best antidote against over-ambitious forecasting efforts. They had profound effects in every sphere of human action: from the Yom Kippur War to the disintegration of the Soviet empire, from floating exchange rates to widely fluctuating commodity prices, from the fall of western labour unions to the rise of Muslim fundamentalism, from the global primacy of Japanese car-making to the microcomputer explosion, and from the discovery of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) effects on the stratospheric ozone to fears of global warming.